Providers resist EHR bandwagon

Thursday, October 22, 2015

YARMOUTH, Maine – While there’s a rush toward EHRs, some HME providers are holding fast to their paper-based systems. 

Provider Angel Pardo, owner of DMR in Doral, Fla. recently purchased a $10,000 filing system to help maintain 31 years worth of records. 

“I always like to have a paper copy,” said Pardo. “You hear about servers crashing, data corrupting. God forbid you need something and the data is lost.”

His No. 2 concern: security. 

“With paper records, we have an armed system, surveillance cameras, we lock our doors—just good old fashioned security,” said Pardo. “With the Internet, even big companies get hacked. If they can hack into IBM and the government, I don’t know that I could have a good enough security system that somebody couldn’t hack our records.”

Pardo isn’t completely unplugged, however. In the event of a fire or flood, he has digital scans of all of his records, which he stores on a server.

As for provider George Kucka, the decision to use paper isn’t a matter of preference but rather demand. 

“We’re following our referrals leads on this and in northeast Indiana, it’s still fairly paper-driven, so right now we are a paper-driven organization,” said Kucka, president of Schererville, Ind.-based Fairmeadows Home Health Center. “Because we’re no longer a Medicare provider, we don’t get as many referrals from hospitals as we used to. Our business is basically CPAP and enteral, so we’re dealing with smaller organizations, which haven’t progressed to EHRs.”

While there are some holdouts, billing consultant Sylvia Toscano, owner of Professional Medical Administrators, estimates that 8 out of 10 of providers have made the switch to EHRs. 

“Storing them electronically saves space and increases accessibility, eases administrative burden, ensures access, and also keeps them safe from damage, water, fire, theft—things like that,” she said.